I didn't know what happened with the first two nightmares, but I knew on the third morning I woke up. The shadowy thing still stood over me, its finger-like tendril still embedded in my face as its head, which barely had a shape, sported what could only be called an evil smile in its open maw. On that morning, I realized it had stolen some of my memories.
I didn't know which ones, only that I could remember certain beginnings and endings to memories, but the real substance, what happened in the middle, was gone. The creature, which feasted on me alone, inspired terrifying nightmares each time I slept, and I could do nothing to stop it. Windy and Rina, like me, were strapped to stone tables.
The monster that had captured us, a lich, whose name was lost to the memories the creature had stolen, kept interrogating Windy, searching for some hidden arcane knowledge she possessed. Rina and I were merely for torture, the leverage to her cooperation. No doubt the lich took great glee in forcing Windy to watch her apprentice slowly lose his mind.
Rina suffered physical torture. The lich had done something to her, starting in her right hand. The flesh of her entire hand had been consumed, leaving only white bone, but she could still move those fingers. The curse would not kill her outright, but slowly destroy her body, transforming her into an undead monster.
That night I fell once again into nightmare, this one fueled by the present. It didn't take much imagination to see Rina becoming a ghast or other creature out to kill me. It was happening, it was inevitable. I knew, too, that my struggles with the monster that fed on my memories only made its feeding erratic, robbing random memories of their substance, so I stopped resisting.I fed the creature powerful memories, ones that my intellect didn't want to surrender, but my heart knew there were those with a greater cost, so I surrendered my magic. I fed memories of studying, of learning from Windy and Faenoth willingly into the creature, hoping to preserve the memories of my friends and family for as long as possible.